(Top) The Sanibel Fish House is adding a 26-seat outdoor patio. (Bottom) It is planned to be adjacent to the west front-side door. SC photos by Chuck Larsen Photography
(Top) The Sanibel Fish House is adding a 26-seat outdoor patio. (Bottom) It is planned to be adjacent to the west front-side door. SC photos by Chuck Larsen Photography

The Sanibel Fish House will be offering alfresco dining after receiving approval for a 26-seat patio from Sanibel Planning Commission. It was authorized as bonus seating, which means additional parking spaces are not required and does not count toward commercial floor space.

Indoor seating will be reduced by 26, a voluntary action by the applicant.

In addition to a development permit, Commissioners granted two waivers: one allowing for the patio area to be located within the existing non-conforming front yard setback and a second for the property to remain in excess of the 50 percent developed area limitation.

Plans include removing currently developed areas, such as certain walkways, that equal the size of the patio and situating it no closer to Periwinkle Way than the building to remain within the current front yard setback. Therefore, as proposed, the patio will not increase the non-conformance of the property, according to the city staff report.

Planning Commission’s approval also incorporated 26 conditions recommended by city staff and one of them is the front landscape buffer be restored to general compliance with a building permit issued in 2011, when the restaurant underwent renovations.

That particular condition included relocating the bicycle rack outside the front landscape buffer. It is currently located in front of the restaurant, where it was approved in 2011, and its placement was the only issue raised by the applicant’s attorney Terry Lenick.

We don’t know where (Deputy Natural Resources Director Holly Milbrandt) wants it located,” said Lenick. “We just don’t want to shift it to the side or the back….It was reviewed and approved by staff when it was put in....”

Senior Planner Roy Gibson explained the bike rack could not “directly” impact the front landscape buffer, so there is potential for it to remain in front of the building.